By Ruth Eglash | Washington Post
JERUSALEM – Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak announced Wednesday that he was returning to the political ring and would seek to topple the incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu as voters prepare for a redo of elections this spring that left the country’s politics deadlocked.
A former military chief of staff, Barak is the only politician who has ever defeated Netanyahu at the polls. Barak, 77, is also the last prime minister to emerge from the left-wing bloc, and his defeat in 2001 led to a succession of right-wing leaders.
In announcing his political return, Barak criticized Netanyahu for leading Israel into “the darkest days we have known,” with Israeli democracy and its judiciary facing unrelenting attacks and racism rampant.
Netanyahu’s camp responded with a terse statement, saying, “We don’t interfere in how the left wing divides its votes.”
Israelis are scheduled to go back to the polls on Sept. 17, less than six months after elections gave Netanyahu and his right-wing bloc a narrow victory but left them unable to form a new government. After Netanyahu’s failure to attain a 61-seat majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, he diverged from political custom last month, opting to dissolve the legislature and take the country to another round of elections.
But Netanyahu now seems eager to undo the election redo he initiated a month ago. He said in a statement Wednesday that he is considering an initiative by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, No. 2 in his Likud party, to draw back from the second election.
Legally and politically, it is unclear whether such a move is possible. But Edelstein said the apparent U-turn was prompted by a growing number of parliamentarians from various political factions who have said the decision to hold another election so soon after the last was a “foolish move.”
“The …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics